H087460 TWENTY, CANNED, SPARE ANTI-AIRCRAFT SEARCHLIGHT COALS. (Zwanzig, Kohlen fr Flugabwehr Scheinwerfer in Dose)

BACKGROUND: The Imperial German Armed Forces were the forerunner in anti-aircraft warfare and had developed a 2.5 cm caliber, horse drawn rifle that was utilized in 1870 on French balloons attempting to flee Paris. In 1914 the German army had a handful of 7.7 cm caliber, anti-aircraft guns but the caliber proved insufficient which resulted in the development of an 8 cm caliber gun which also was found to be deficient. In 1917 the armament firms of Krupp and Erhardt developed the first 8.8 cm caliber anti-aircraft guns and utilized them on defence of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers. After WWI the Treaty of Versailles forbid Germany from any further development of anti-aircraft weapons so the Germans secretly sent personnel from the Krupp armaments firm to Sweden and in conjunction with the Swedish Bofors armaments firm they developed the 8.8 cm Flak/18 in 1931 which was put into service in 1933. During the Third Reich era the Luftwaffe, ( (Air-{Weapon}, Force), was the ultimate authority of all things concerned with flight including the anti-aircraft defence and utilized an assortment of Flak, Fliegerabwehrkannonen, (Anti-Aircraft Guns), including the 2 cm caliber Flak 30, the 3.7 cm caliber Flak 18 and Flak 36, the 8.8 cm caliber Flak 18, the 10.5 cm caliber Flak 38 and the 12.8 cm caliber Flak 40. Along with the weapons came a variety of assorted observation, firing and ranging aids and equipment to assist the crews in firing accuracy including sound detection equipment, various plotting grids and tools and an assortment of large searchlights. The searchlights ranged in size from 60 cm, (23 3/4"), diameter up to 200 cm, (79"), diameter with the 150 cm, (59 1/4"), diameter Flakscheinwerfer 37, (Anti-Aircraft Searchlight 37), being the most widely used. Generally the searchlights were deployed with three, later four, batteries and included between nine and sixteen searchlights and were generally laid out in a checkerboard or triangular pattern, in the zone of preparation, far enough away from the actual anti-aircraft gun batteries so as not to interfere with sighting of the gun crews, ("sun"-blindness), and also the searchlights were prime, visible targets themselves. The searchlights also served double duty as they were utilized as navigational aids for German night fighter aircraft. The searchlights used Armdicke coal, pressed tungsten rods, high powered carbon arced lamps and parabolic, heat resistant, quartz glass mirrors and had an effective range of up to roughly 35,000 feet, (6.63 miles/10.67 kilometers), depending on the particular searchlight. Of Note: As the war progressed and additional manpower was needed at the front more and more women were recruited into service, albeit still retaining their civilian status. Besides the secretarial and clerical positions female civilians were also employed as Flugmeldedienstpersonel (Aircraft Reporting Service), personnel that were tasked with operating assorted aircraft visual and sound detection equipment, and radar stations to warn of incoming enemy aircraft. On February 26TH 1941 the Luftwaffe constituted the Luftnachrichten Helferinnenschaft, (Corps of Women Signals Auxiliaries), which incorporated the Flugmeldedienstpersonel and were tasked with aircraft warning and communication services. In 1942 the Luftwaffe began employing females from the RADwJ, Reichsarbeitsdienst der weiblichen Jugend, (National Labor Service for Young Females), to perform as Flakwaffenhelferin, (Corps of Anti-Aircraft Auxiliaries), and in October 1943 they were official established. The Flakhelferin (Anti-Aircraft Auxiliaries), were originally classed as non-combatants until after their official establishment when they were reclassed as combatants. The Flakhelferin assisted the anti-aircraft batteries by operating assorted aircraft visual and sound detection equipment, radar stations, searchlights, command posts and fire control equipment, etc. but were not permitted to actually man the anti-aircraft weapons until the final months of the war. Also Of Note: The Flak arm is often viewed as a secondary arm of service within the Luftwaffe when in fact during the war between half and two thirds of all Luftwaffe personnel served in a Flak unit.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Roughly, 3 3/8" tall, 3 1/4" diameter, (8.7 cm x 8.2 cm), galvanized, tooled and rolled construction, tin can with a vertical, brazed side seam and a central raised, horizontal, strip seal, lip. The side of the can has brazed on metal panel with an off white, painted, label with black printed, Latin script that includes, "10 Paar A Kohlen fr Scheinwerfer, (10 Pair Armdicke Coal for Searchlight), along with the amperage, voltage and resistance values, "8-10 Amp.-43 Volt", "pos, 15 x 70 m/m", and, "neg. 10 x 70 m/m", along with the Siemens logo of dual, stylized, overlapping "Ss". Of Note: The Siemens firm has been around since 1847, until the present, and have utilized similar, assorted, logos with one featuring a large "S" superimposed with a smaller, "H", indicating, Siemens/Halske and another logo with a large "S" superimposed with a smaller, "s", indicating Siemens/Schuckert. Both logos were used during the Third Reich era, (Circa 1933-1945). The Siemens/Halske branch specialized in communications engineering while the Siemens/Schuckert branch specialized in power and pneumatic engineering. The can has a turning key opening device or "church-key", lightly soldered to the top of the can. The "church-key", is similar to those found on sardine and/or corned beef cans, with an opened, oval, handle, with an extended rod with a slotted end. The horizontal strip seal on the side of the can has a small extended tab that would be inserted into the "church-key" slot and the "church-key" would be turned resulting in opening the strip seal. The can shows moderate surface spotting and some light surface pitting and only retains about 25% of its silver galvanized finish. Scarce and unique searchlight accessory parts can.

GRADE ***                             PRICE $125.00

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